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East Cocalico resident encourages dialogue on new police contract
ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent
, Staff Writer
Public comment at East Cocalico Supervisor’s July 2 meeting was emotional and focused.
"I was not at the police meeting on Monday night (West Cocalico hosted Northern Regional Police Dept.’s Chief, David Steffen, at a public information meeting) but I’ve talked to many people who were there plus others in the community," said pastor Sandy Gideon.
"One of the main problems is you guys," Gideon said. "You’re not listening to the other groups. My concerns are: 1) taxes; 2) losing coverage. As a pastor I have to talk about learning how to get along. Why can’t we talk to each other?" Gideon asked.
Gideon is a resident of East Cocalico. Her church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, is in Adamstown, and she has a child who is a student at Cocalico Middle School in Denver. She is personally affected by police coverage in three of the four municipalities East Cocalico Police serves.
East Cocalico supervisors updated the old police contract and sent it out for review to Adamstown, Denver and West Cocalico Township. No input was sought from any other municipality served by the East Cocalico police during the revision of the old contract. At the July 1 meeting with Chief Steffen, the public was told that East Cocalico would not cooperate in any type of discussion of terms in the new contract (see related story on this page for E.Cocalico comment on this).
Two sticking points are stiff financial penalties if a municipality withdraws from contracting with East Cocalico and no mention of how calls to the majority of school buildings, located in Denver, would be billed. Current practice, which resulted from discussion at regional municipal meetings, assigns billing to the municipality in which the student(s) involved in the incident resides.
"I’d like to think that our neighbors (West Cocalico, Denver and Adamstown) are just looking around," said Supervisor, Noelle Fortna. "I think our police staff is excellent. They’re (the municipalities) being financially prudent."
"I don’t want," said Gideon, "something to happen to my child and be told there’s not a police car nearby and no one knows how long it will take to get there."
Gideon praised the East Cocalico Police force for their professionalism and excellent service.
"We can listen," said Fortna. "I’m not against making a change. If I were one of the other municipalities, I’d shop around too."
Gideon left the supervisor’s meeting. Immediately following adjournment of the meeting, she returned to talk more with the supervisors prior to them leaving their seats at the front of the meeting room.
In other business:
Zoning officer, Tony Luongo, reported issuing a permit for a new, single family dwelling. That brings the total to three new single family dwellings for the 2013 year. The property at 185 Bonview Drive was posted for property maintenance of the entire site and Luongo secured a third party to mow the tall grass. Notices were sent to ten residents concerning property maintenance and weeds.
A new pump for the main pool was installed. It has a 10 horsepower electric motor. Cost for the new pump was $8,395.
Fortna reported that B.C. Chicken is interested in extending their contract to rent the 1975 N. Reading Road property until March 21, 2014.
Township Manager Mark Hiester reported that Martin Machinery made repairs to the emergency generator. "We had to do this right away because it is emergency equipment."
Hiester reported paving on Oak Lane was completed. "This was necessary due to construction of a new home," Hiester said.